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Re: Book Art vs. Book Arts

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> Dear friends
>        This isn't as much a response to the Book Art/ Arts question but some
> thoughts the discussion led me to. I come to the discussion as a self taught
> artist, first in calligraphy where I took several workshops as time went on
> but did all my preliminary work- several years- on my own from books. My
> learning in the book arts has also come primarily from books. While my
> training is not traditional and I do not have fine binding skills, I consider
> myself a professional artist and set high standards for myself although they
> are internal to the piece.

>    I am also a strong believer in the book as a vehicle for personal
> expression at any level. I am very sympathetic to and appreciative of the
> contributions that talented amateurs bring to the field. I am thinking in
> particular of a good friend,
> Berna Finley, who passed away recently. I am working on an exhibit of her
> books which will be shown at Rivier
> College in Nashua, NH in the fall of 2002. Berna took one of the first
> bookmaking classes I taught. I was relatively new to the field and interested
> in simple structures- still am. I had discovered books after ten plus years
> with calligraphy, a deep urge to move into new artistic territory, and the
> emotional upheaval of the death of my mother and the birth of my first child.
> In addition to the books I made as art, I made books for and about my child
> and saw the book as a wonderful forum for celebrating life and for engagement
> in the struggle to make sense of life's events. Making books was a healing
> experience for me and I felt it could be for others. For me, it wasnít just
> about self-
> expression- the blurt out the feelings part, that's what journals are for,
> but the process of creating another
> entity. I found that using my thoughts, feelings, and experiences as raw
> material and shaping them through choice of
> book form, materials, art techniques, and design concepts into a separate
> creation was a powerful experience- whether I was making a book about the
> death of my mother or celebrating my toddler at play. So I started teaching
> classes on the theme of Artmaking for Everyone. As a side comment to those
> who talk about people wanting to make pretty decorative blank books, I will
> say that my classes were a personal but not a financial success and I did
> abandon that form of teaching in favor of work in the schools. My work now is
> about relating the book to the curriculum and while I sometimes think I have
> journeyed far from my original intent, I realize that the one constant is
> that I am still teaching books about content.
>     So back to Berna. Berna embraced the book form with incredible
> enthusiasm. She started out making books for her
> grandchildren- made a Christmas book, a birthday book, and a Halloween book
> every year. She moved on to books about growing up, about her parents, and at
> the end about her struggle with cancer. She took many classes and experiment
> with more forms and techniques than I have. But she never did her work for
> anything but the love of doing it and the joy of sharing it. Although she
> considered me her mentor (a fact I learned late in her illness and a great
> surprise to me), I learned from her all the time. Her open approach to her
> work was an inspiration to me. When I wrote something for her memorial
> service, I used a quote from Zen mind, Beginnerís Mind by Shunryu Suzuki, ďIn
> the beginnerís mind, there are many possibilities; but in the expertís there
> are few.Ē
>     Thanks for listening.
> in good spirit
> Susan
> --
> Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord
> Newburyport, MA
> skgaylord@makingbooks.com
> http://www.makingbooks.com

Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord
Newburyport, MA


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